Saturday, May 14, 2022

India should rapidly expand use of electricity to cut dependence on oil imports: Tarun Kapoor

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  • ‘The most effective way to reduce our vulnerabilities to global oil and gas price cycles is to rapidly increase the share of electricity in our country’s final energy consumption’
  • ‘We must use tax as a tool to incentivise EVs and disincentivise petrol and diesel vehicles’

New Delhi: In order to address its vulnerabilities to global crude oil and gas prices, India needs to rapidly increase the use of electricity generated from renewable sources, in its economy, former Petroleum Secretary Tarun Kapoor has said. Kapoor, who now heads Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas’ energy transition panel, was quoted by The Economic Times as saying that the government should use tax as a tool to incentivise Electric Vehicles (EVs) and discourage vehicles powered by petrol and diesel.

“The most effective way to reduce our vulnerabilities to global oil and gas price cycles is to rapidly increase the share of electricity in our country’s final energy consumption. And the new electricity supply should predominantly come from renewable sources,” Kapoor said. The energy transition panel is expected to submit a broader energy transition plan for the petroleum sector by June.

‘India should work towards electricity demand creation’

According to an analysis by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the share of electricity in India’s final energy consumption is set to rise from the current 17 percent to 24 percent by 2040. Kapoor said India should set a more ambitious target. “The government should work towards substantial electricity demand creation, especially in cooking and transport, which is where we could have a quick and direct shift from oil and gas,” said the energy transitional panel chief.

“We must use tax as a tool to incentivise EVs and disincentivise petrol and diesel vehicles. To begin with, we must target taxis. It makes immense economic sense to use EVs where daily travel comes to around 100 km,” said Kapoor.

Electric two-wheelers are beginning to gain popularity in India, while cars are yet to find favour among buyers, who are increasingly choosing to spend on fuel-guzzlers like sport utility vehicles (SUVs). “EV makers will have to chip in with more models to make it attractive for buyers. And, of course, safety must be a top priority,” said Kapoor. Recent incidents of electric two wheelers catching fire have touched off debates around their safety. 

India imports around 85 percent of its crude oil requirement and 50 percent of its gas requirement. The rise in global crude oil prices has pushed up the domestic prices of fuel to record highs, feeding inflation in the economy.

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